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CO Reports: Lake ice conditions deteriorating rapidly

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 11, 2023

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking spring anglers who are having some luck chasing panfish. Ice conditions are good throughout the area but with warm weather forecasted for the upcoming week, shorelines are expected to deteriorate rapidly.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and boat and water safety this week. A work detail was worked with another officer on the Rainy River. They checked angling activity and worked boating enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for boating and safety equipment violations.


CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time doing equipment maintenance in preparation for the change of seasons. Cook also took various calls for service and followed up on trapping violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and trappers this week. Snowmobile trails are closed and state forest road spring closures will be in place next week.

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. Many anglers are having good success with catching close to their limits of bluegills. He responded to a report of an injured owl and delivered the owl to an area animal rescue center. He followed up on a report of a feeding ban violation and educated the homeowner on the legal ways to feed wild animals.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Perch anglers started having more success. The ice has held up well to this point but will weaken very quickly. Mathy also worked on Bear Committee-related items, completed training items, and prepared some materials for the upcoming Conservation Officer Academy. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.


CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked area panfish lakes, finding fewer and fewer anglers. Those who were out were having some success. Please remember that ice conditions are changing rapidly this time of year, and to be prepared with the appropriate safety equipment if venturing out. Several calls were taken from people with questions and comments about โ€œproblemโ€ areas in regards to the upcoming ATV season. A case from the past deer season was closed with an individual charged for hunting deer without a license, and hunting while license privileges are suspended.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. Time was spent working a detail on the Rainy River.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week doing equipment maintenance and checking a few ice anglers throughout the week. The snowy conditions on area lakes have made it hard for people to find areas to fish. Swedberg also spent time preparing material for the upcoming Academy.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking anglers in the Pelican Rapids station. The panfish bite is improving, but the midweek storm made access and travel on the lakes worse than it previously was. As the weather warms, ATV operators are reminded to consult regulations, specifically pertaining to operating age and helmet requirements. Enforcement action was taken for permitting a juvenile to operate an ATV illegally, and a number of youth under the age of 18 without helmets.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for snowmobile, ATV, and ice angling activity. Fox also conducted equipment maintenance in anticipation of changing seasons.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked snowmobile enforcement and ice anglers. Activity was light on both fronts. Trail conditions were still good in forested areas but are diminishing fast.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activities over the past week with more anglers hitting area lakes with the snow pack declining. Panfish have moved into the shallows and anglers are having success. Sutherland also took calls about road-killed deer as many are seeking food in the newly snow-free ditch.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) monitored recreational vehicles and angling activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent on injured-animal complaints and reports of abandoned property on the ice. Holt followed up on open cases and checked closed snowmobile trails.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that for the first time since last fall, more ATVs were observed operating in the area than snowmobiles. Ice conditions vary from lake to lake and begin to change dramatically as the weather continues to warm. Please do not use the ice unless extreme caution is exercised.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking ice anglers. Calls of dogs chasing and injuring deer were also handled. Time was spent following up on cases and assisting local agencies.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers in the area. Calls related trespassing disputes were investigated. Benkofske also assisted local agencies with various medical calls.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) patrolled for illegal ATV use on snowmobile trails and checked panfish fishing activity. Turkeys started their spring strutting activities and waterfowl had returned to the area. Work plans and training items were addressed.


District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week assisting with training at Camp Ripley. Multiple patrols of the station resulted in several ATV stops for various violations. One of the ATV stops resulted in an arrest for a gross misdemeanor DWI. Calls regarding road-killed deer and turkeys were also handled.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) received several calls regarding deer. Callers are concerned for what they are calling injured deer or deer being targeted by coyotes. He also received a call concerning bow fishing and snow goose dumping.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling and trapping enforcement on local lakes and rivers. Time was spent presenting at a firearms safety course in St. Augusta and getting equipment ready for the summer season. Anglers are urged to exercise extreme caution with the rapidly changing ice conditions.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled state land for littering. While cleaning out your house, garbage does not belong on state land. Hanna also investigated a trespassing complaint where the trespasser was searching for antlers.

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) followed up on big-game-registration violations. A firearms safety class was attended and equipment maintenance was completed. The Mississippi River is beginning to open up so specialty boats were checked and readied for spring and summer use. Enforcement action for the week included failing to provide a bear tooth after harvest.

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